The Train

Director: John Frankenheimer
Year Released: 1964
Rating: 3.0

Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield match wits in a battle over a train filled with priceless paintings by everyone from Gauguin to Matisse to Picasso; Scofield wants to steal the masterpieces (and the 'pride of France') for Germany, whereas Lancaster (a French engineer) is simply out to stop him, not fighting for the paintings, but fighting for its own sake. Frankenheimer overdoes the film's subtext, pretentiously reminding us that this is basically a battle of ideologies, but the film's masterful pacing and superbly crafted second and third acts make it hard to fuss over the extensive plot development, drawn out a tad in the first act. Lancaster and Scofield use the minimal (and often simplistic) dialogue to full effect and, above all, it's a refreshing action/suspense piece.